Georgia Nursing Schools and Programs
Schools, Licensing Requirements, and Resources
Students who earn their degrees from online nursing programs in Georgia graduate into a vibrant job market. The Atlanta metropolitan area ranks among the top 10 cities for highest employment level of registered nurses (RNs), licensed practical nurses (LPNs), certified nurse assistants (CNAs), and nurse practitioners (NPs) in the U.S.
This guide explores online nursing schools in Georgia and provides information on obtaining Georgia nursing licensure, including projected salary data and resources for students and practitioners. It also describes how online nursing degrees work and helps you find your ideal program.
Why Attend Online Nursing Programs in Georgia?
Students interested in public health careers should consider online nursing programs in Georgia. The state's Department of Public Health reports a severe shortage of nurses in this area of healthcare. Georgia is also one of the states hardest hit by a general nursing shortage in the U.S. due to the large numbers of retiring nurses.
To help train nurses quickly, schools in Georgia offer accelerated online RN programs. Nurses can also access hospital signing bonuses, loan forgiveness, and other perks, like home-loan down payments and flexible work schedules. Georgia's college tuition rates are also lower than the national average.
Featured Online Programs
How to Become a Nurse in Georgia
Becoming a nurse in Georgia requires education and licensure. Aspiring professionals must earn a nursing degree before completing national licensure exams and applying to the state's board of nursing. Like other states, Georgia does not allow nursing graduates to work without a valid license. The licensing exam and Georgia licensing application both charge a fee. You can find the state's requirements in more detail below.
1. Choose the Path That's Right for YouThe minimum requirement for an RN in Georgia is an associate degree in nursing (ADN), but practical nurses can qualify with only LPN degrees. LPN programs are often only certificate programs, but their graduates have fewer opportunities for advancement. Graduates of associate programs may work as RNs, school nurses, and travel nurses. However, if you're seeking advanced positions with higher pay and more career options, you should consider earning a bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degree.
2. Earn Your Nursing DegreeEarning a nursing degree at a college or university usually requires a high school diploma or GED certificate, with prerequisites including English, mathematics, and science. Schools may also require ACT or SAT scores for admission. Depending on which degree you pursue, your education can last anywhere from 2-11 years: You can earn an associate degree in two years, a bachelor's in four years, a master's in six years, and a doctorate in 9-11 total years. Most nursing degrees include on-site clinical training in their curricula.
3. Pass the Licensing Exam and Earn Your LicenseAfter earning your degree, you must pass the NCLEX-RN or NCLEX-PN before you can work as an RN or LPN in Georgia. Students should spend at least two months studying for the exam, reviewing written materials, and completing practice questions. The NCLEX-RN takes six hours to complete, while the NCLEX-PN takes five hours.
Online Nursing Degree Programs in Georgia
The demand for nurses makes the process of earning a nursing degree well worth the effort. The country's nursing shortage, combined with an aging population, provides job security. Online nursing programs in Georgia offer flexibility to work or attend to other responsibilities while earning your degree, and some programs offer accelerated graduation timelines.
What Courses Are Part of an Online Nursing Degree Program in Georgia?
While course titles and content vary by school, online programs in Georgia often offer the three classes listed below on the road to a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) degree. These classes introduce students to the basics of nursing practice, along with practical skills like identifying illnesses and conducting patient assessments.
Foundations of Nursing PracticeStudents learn about the fundamental principles governing the practice of nursing. Course topics may include bioethics, disease prevention, evidence-based practice, health promotion, and patient-centered care.
Human Pathophysiology and Pharmacological PrinciplesThis course examines concepts of pathophysiology and pharmacology that inform nursing practice. Understanding these concepts helps with analyzing and interpreting symptoms and signs of disease at different stages of the lifespan.
Physical Assessment and Health PromotionThis class teaches students to conduct health assessments, collect health histories, and perform physical examinations of diverse clients, including children, adults, and geriatric patients. The course also covers strategies for health maintenance, promotion, and restoration.
How Do Online Nursing Degree Programs Work?
Students with jobs, family obligations, or other commitments, along with those who don't live near nursing schools, should consider online RN programs in Georgia. Distance learning can offer more flexible and affordable options than the traditional, on-campus experience. Some online nursing schools follow a set schedule, where students log in at specific times, while others allow enrollees to access lectures at any time. Hybrid delivery includes online and classroom learning, and some programs offer accelerated options.
Georgia schools offer online nursing programs at all levels. Distance learners typically complete their coursework online but must also log clinical hours in person at local hospitals or medical facilities to graduate.
CNA certification programs can take as little as 6-8 weeks to complete. Associate degrees require 1-2 years, and bachelor's degrees generally take students four years of full-time enrollment. Master's degrees typically require 2-4 years and doctorates can last 3-4 years or more. Admission requirements for online nursing programs generally mirror those of traditional programs.
Nursing Licensure in Georgia
The state board of nursing grants Georgia nursing licensure for RNs, LPNs, and NPs. CNAs should apply for certification from the Georgia Department of Community Health after completing a state-approved nurse aide program. The Nurse Practice Act governs the profession in Georgia.
Licensure requirements and scopes of practice vary by type of license. For example, Georgia imposes strict practice and prescriptive authority regulations on NPs, who must work under a protocol agreement with a supervising physician and cannot prescribe certain medications. The section below details the requirements for each nursing license available in Georgia.
Georgia nurses can take advantage of assistance programs, such as a mentoring program for public health nurses, and the Georgia Nurses Association Peer Assistance Program, which helps nurses keep their licenses while undergoing treatment for substance abuse disorders.
State Requirements by Nursing Type
Below, you will find information about the Georgia nursing licensure requirements for each license type, including required education and training, work experience, examinations, renewal, and continuing education credits for license maintenance.
Georgia Licensure Requirements
Georgia Licensure Requirements
- Verification of current certification from a national organization;
- Coursework at an accredited academic program in respiratory therapy, informatics, or healthcare or business administration;
- Proof of competency and 500 documented hours of active practice; or
- Proof of completion of a board-approved re-entry or nursing education program.
Georgia Licensure Requirements
Georgia Licensure Requirements
Online Nursing Degree Programs and Licensing in Georgia FAQ
Georgia Nurse Salaries and Employment Trends
The data below show the average mean wages and projected job growth rates for nurses. While many factors affect actual salaries and job availability, the figures here provide estimates for Georgia as compared to the U.S. and nearby states.
Georgia's annual mean wages fall below the figures for all U.S. states, but with increased education, Georgia wages fare better against those of its neighbors. RN and NP salaries in Georgia outpace other southern states.
Georgia is projected to experience a shortage of RNs and LPNs through 2030. While salaries and job growth rates for both categories of nurses remain fairly strong in the south, the projected shortfalls may mean increased job prospects, particularly in public health.
Nurse Salary and Projected Job Growth in Georgia, by Type
|Annual Mean Wage||Projected Job Growth(2016-2026)|
|Certified Nurse Assistant||$25,870||15.8%|
|Licensed Practical Nurse||$41,690||11.3%|
Annual Mean Nurse Wages in Nearby States
|Certified Nurse Assistant||Licensed Practical Nurse||Registered Nurse||Nurse Practitioner|
Certified Nurse Assistant
Georgia CNAs earned higher mean annual wages in 2018 than those in neighboring states, except Florida and Tennessee. The state's projected job growth rate for this profession -- 16% -- beats Alabama (7%) and North Carolina (8%). Salary data and job growth projections indicate that CNAs should consider studying and working in Georgia, particularly in the Atlanta area, which ranks among the top 10 for highest employment level of CNAs in the U.S.
Licensed Practical Nurse
Graduates of Georgia LPN programs should find jobs in the state due to a projected shortage totaling 29%. Georgia LPNs brought home higher mean annual wages in 2018 than nearby southern states, except for Florida and North Carolina. The Atlanta metropolitan area offers the most opportunity for LPNs, with the eighth highest employment level in the country. Job growth projections for Georgia LPNs outpace Alabama and North Carolina, and fall just shy of South Carolina.
Georgia RNs make less than the national average, but more than RNs in neighboring southern states. Its projected job growth of 18% exceeds that of Alabama (13%) and North Carolina (16%). These solid numbers point to a stable employment climate for Georgia RNs, particularly in the Rome metropolitan area. Given the projected 2% shortfall of RNs through 2030, opportunities could continue to increase.
High NP salaries make it worthwhile for students to earn graduate degrees. Georgia NPs take home more than their counterparts in neighboring states, and the profession enjoys a 36% projected job growth. NPs in the Atlanta metro area earned a mean annual wage of $109,410 in 2018, which exceeds the state average of $106,750 and almost equals the U.S. average for the profession. Macon also offers opportunities, boasting the ninth-highest concentration of NP jobs among U.S. metropolitan areas.
Nursing Resources for Georgia
Georgia Nurses AssociationAs a chapter of the American Nurses Association, GNA supports the state's RNs with educational and networking events, job postings, professional development webinars, and political advocacy. The association also provides discounted continuing education opportunities.
Georgia Coalition of Advanced Practice Registered NursesThis coalition represents more than 20 APRN associations across the state and advocates for Georgia's estimated 8,000 licensed APRNs, lobbying for legislation that removes barriers to advanced nursing practice.
Georgia Board of NursingThe state nursing board licenses LPNs, RNs, and APRNs. The board also provides information on board-approved education, examinations, certifications, and continuing education providers, along with laws, rules, and policies applicable to the nursing profession.
United Advanced Practice Registered Nurses of GeorgiaA member of CAPRN, this organization works to improve Georgians' access to healthcare while supporting and advocating for APRNs. Members can also access a career center, conference information, event listings, and news briefs.
Georgia Nursing Leadership CoalitionThis coalition seeks to implement the Institute of Medicine's recommendations for the future of the nursing profession through leadership and collaboration with partners in healthcare, government, education, and consumer groups.
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